UK Statistics Authority

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UK Statistics Authority
Scottish Gaelic: Am Bòrd an Staitistig
Welsh: Y Bwrdd Ystadegau
Agency overview
Formed1 April 2008; 15 years ago (2008-04-01)
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersFry Building 1st Floor, 2 Marsham Street
SW1P 4DF[1]
Annual budget£256m (2018)[2]
Minister responsible
Agency executives
Parent departmentCabinet Office
Child agency Edit this at Wikidata

The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA, Welsh: Awdurdod Ystadegau'r DU) is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for oversight of the Office for National Statistics, maintaining a national code of practice for official statistics, and accrediting statistics that comply with the Code as National Statistics. UKSA was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, and is directly accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.


Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 28 November 2005, that the government intended to publish plans in early 2006 to legislate to render the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the statistics it generates independent of government on a model based on the independence of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. This was originally a 1997 Labour Party manifesto commitment and was also the policy of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties. Such independence was also sought by the Royal Statistical Society and the Statistics Commission. The National Statistician, who is the chief executive of the ONS, would be directly accountable to Parliament through a widely constituted independent governing Statistics Board. The ONS would be a non-ministerial government department so that the staff, including the Director, would remain as civil servants but without being under direct ministerial control. The National Statistician at the time, Karen Dunnell, stated that the legislation would help improve public trust in official statistics although the ONS already acts independently according to its own published guidelines, the National Statistics Code of Practice, which sets out the key principles and standards that official statisticians, including those in other parts of the Government Statistical Service, are expected to follow and uphold.

The details of the plans for independence were considered in Parliament during the 2006/2007 session and resulted in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. In July 2007, Sir Michael Scholar was nominated by the government to be the three-day-a-week non-executive chairman of the Statistics Board which, to re-establish faith in the integrity of government statistics, has statutory responsibility for oversight of UK government statistics and of the Office for National Statistics. It also has a duty to assess all UK government statistics. Following Gordon Brown's later announcement on his 2007 appointment as Prime Minister of new constitutional arrangements for public appointments, Sir Michael also became, on 18 July, the first such nominee to appear before the House of Commons Treasury Committee and to have his nomination subject to confirmation by the House. On 7 February 2008, following the first meeting of the shadow board, it was announced that the body would be known as the UK Statistics Authority.

UKSA was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, and is directly accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[3][4][5] It reports to Parliament through the Minister for the Cabinet Office.


Formally, the UK Statistics Authority has two main functions: a production arm – the Office for National Statistics – and a regulatory arm – the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). The board has established two main committees, as well as a remuneration committee. The regulation committee oversees the work of the OSR, and has a delegated function to approve the formal assessments of official statistics; and the audit and risk committee monitors strategic risks and has independent external members.[citation needed]

Office for National Statistics[edit]

The ONS is responsible for collecting, analysing and distributing statistical information about the UK's economy, society and population. It replaces the role previously performed by HM Treasury ministers.[6]

Office for Statistics Regulation[edit]

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) performs independent monitoring of official statistics, including assessment of the coverage, completeness and usefulness of statistics in particular areas. The OSR is also responsible for maintaining a Code of Practice for Official Statistics,[7] and accrediting Code-compliant statistics as 'National Statistics'.[8] However, the chair can also act to comment on perceived misuse of official statistics by persons responsible or accountable for them. The assessment function has an operational role of producing reports on code compliance of specific sets of national statistics, and also a role making more strategic recommendations for the improvement of statistical outputs, in terms of both the presentation and coverage of official statistics as well as monitoring public trust in government statistics.[9]

The UKSA has reported on the need to improve commentary supporting the release of official statistics, and the procedures and extent of pre-release access to official statistics by government ministers.[10] The authority has also produced reports on the impact of cuts to specific statistical activity, such as the citizenship survey, especially where these changes affect users in other bodies. Other reports focus on statistics relating to a particular sector such as health and charities both of which have relevant data collected by more than one government body. A specific stream of work has been on user engagement, identifying the uses of official statistics and the extent to which the needs of users are taken into account by producers.[11]

Current board members[edit]

Member Current rôle Started
Sir Robert Chote Chair 1 June 2022[12]
Sian Jones Deputy Chair 1 July 2016[13]
Dr. Jacob Abboud Non-executive member 13 February 2023
Prof. Sir John Aston Non-executive member 1 July 2021[14]
Nora Nanayakkara Non-executive member 1 July 2016[13]
Prof. Dame Carol Propper Non-executive member 13 February 2023
Prof. Sir David Spiegelhalter Non-executive member 27 May 2020[15]
Penny Young Non-executive member 13 February 2023

Ex officio executive members[edit]

As well as the nine non-executive members of the Board, three civil servants serve as executive members as a part of their jobs:

  • Prof. Sir Ian Diamond, the National Statistician and head of the Government Statistical Service, took up post 22 October 2019[16]
  • Ed Humpherson, the authority's Head of Assessment, responsible for the independent assessment of official statistics
  • Alison Pritchard, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Data Capability, has the third executive place on the board

The other three Deputy National Statisticians normally attend meetings of the board but are formally not members:[17]

  • Mike Keoghan, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Economic, Social & Environmental Statistics
  • Pete Benton, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Special Projects
  • Emma Rourke, ONS Director General and Deputy National Statistician for Health, Population & Methods

Former board members[17][edit]

Member Role Started End
Richard Dobbs Non-Executive Director 27 May 2020 26 May 2023
Prof. Jonathan Haskel Non-Executive Director 1 February 2016 1 February 2023
Helen Boaden Non-Executive Director 1 June 2019 31 December 2022
Prof. Anne Trefethen Non-Executive Director 1 June 2018 31 December 2022
Sir David Norgrove Chair April 2017 31 March 2022
Prof. David Hand Non-Executive Director 1 April 2013 30 June 2021
Prof. Sir Adrian Smith Non-Executive Director 1 September 2012 31 March 2020
1 April 2008 1 September 2008
Prof. Sir Ian Diamond Non-Executive Director 1 June 2018 5 August 2019
Dr David Levy Non-Executive Director 1 August 2012 30 May 2019
Dame Colette Bowe Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 31 March 2018
Dame Moira Gibb Non-Executive Director 1 February 2008 31 January 2018
Sir Andrew Dilnot Chair 1 April 2012 31 March 2017
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn Non-Executive Director 1 April 2013 30 September 2015
Professor David Rhind Deputy Chair (Statistics System) 1 July 2012 30 June 2015
Mr Partha Dasgupta Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 30 June 2014
Sir Jon Shortridge Non-Executive Director 1 February 2010 30 October 2012
Lord (David) Rowe-Beddoe Deputy Chair (ONS) 1 April 2008 31 August 2012
Sir Michael Scholar Chair 1 April 2008 31 March 2012
Professor Sir Roger Jowell Deputy Chair (Statistics System) 11 November 2008 26 December 2011
Professor Stephen Nickell Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 31 October 2010
Sir Alan Langlands Non-Executive Director 1 April 2008 12 April 2009


  1. ^ "Contact Us". UK Statistics Authority. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  2. ^ a b UK Statistics Authority. (2018). UK Statistics Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18. London. ISBN 9781528605892. OCLC 1053733779.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ "Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007",, The National Archives, 2007 c. 18
  4. ^ "Timeline". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  5. ^ "The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provision) Order 2008",, The National Archives, SI 2008/839
  6. ^ "What we do – Office for National Statistics".
  7. ^ "About the Code". Code of Practice for Statistics. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  8. ^ "What we do". UK Statistics Authority. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  9. ^ Cosstick, Nick (23 November 2017). "Communicating uncertainty to recapture trust in experts – Networks of evidence and expertise for public policy". Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  10. ^ Georgiou, Andreas V. (1 January 2020). "Prerelease access to official statistics is not consistent with professional ethics". Statistical Journal of the IAOS. 36 (2): 317. doi:10.3233/SJI-200620. ISSN 1874-7655. S2CID 219144205. Retrieved 3 January 2022. prerelease access by the government was significantly curtailed in the UK in 2017
  11. ^ "Centre for Applied Data Ethics". UK Statistics Authority. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Robert Chote appointed as chair of UKSA". Cabinet Office.
  13. ^ a b "UK Statistics Authority: board appointments". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Appointment of Professor Sir John Aston to the UK Statistics Authority Board". UK Statistics Authority.
  15. ^ "Appointment of two new Non-Executive Directors to the UK Statistics Authority Board". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  16. ^ "The Board".
  17. ^ a b "The Board".

External links[edit]